For this specific case, we searched the market and came across AGC’s Coating on Demand service, which soon proved to be the best solution since it delivered the same aesthetics as the original. When the Coating on Demand mock-up was placed next to the original glazing from the 1960s, they were stunningly identical.
We recently had the opportunity to take a tour of the Royale Belge site in Brussels with project insider Franky Symoens, managing director of Polypane Glasindustrie.
Polypane, a Belgian family-owned manufacturer of glazing products for both outdoor and indoor applications, has been involved in numerous projects around the world for over 75 years. The company is currently glazing the Royale Belge building in Brussels. Designed in the mid-sixties by renowned architects René Stapels and Pierre Dufau and built from 1967 to 1970 , the building was home to insurance company AXA until 2017. It is now being completely renovated and transformed into a mixed-use complex that respects the building’s heritage value.
“For this project, the facade glazing was particularly important. The Royale Belge is an iconic listed building in Brussels. The facade of the cruciform tower was originally glazed with a product then called Stopray Gold 40/27, a gold-coloured glazing which was very popular in the sixties but which did not let much natural light into the building. Since we had to respect the building’s heritage value, our challenge was to find a glazing that delivered higher natural light throughput and better energy performance, while maintaining the same colour and appearance from the outside.”
Royale Belge building during renovation – July 2022
“As an independent glazing manufacturer, we always strive to offer our customers solutions best suited to their needs. To that end, we work closely with various glassmakers to deliver those solutions. For this specific case, we searched the market and came across AGC’s Coating on Demand service, which soon proved to be the best solution since it delivered the same aesthetics as the original. When the Coating on Demand mock-up was placed next to the original glazing from the 1960s, they were stunningly identical.”
AGC mock-up incorporated in the original facade: identical aesthetics
“While Polypane glazed 9,000 m² of the facade with Coating on Demand, we also glazed the other parts of the facade. For the base of the building, which required large floor-to-ceiling glass panels, we installed 1,500 m² of ipasol Ultraselect 62/29 OverSized glass (1725 x 7432 mm) with a solar control coating. And on the mezzanine floor we are currently installing 2,000 m² of ipasol Ultraselect 62/29 solar control glass.”
Installing OverSized glass – July 2022
These kinds of renovation projects for listed buildings are challenging, since some of the original elements need to be either kept or replaced by similar, but higher-performance materials. A major effort is being made to improve the building’s energy efficiency and make it futureproof, specifically by deploying insulation, solar panels and so on. Replacing the iconic gold-coloured glass used in the facade alone will result in a 4% reduction in energy consumption. After renovation, the Royale Belge will be a CO2-neutral building and should be on track for BREEAM Excellent certification. The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2023.